11 January 2019

Zimbabwe: Life Assurance Registers Growth

Gains on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) helped spur the life assurance industry as total assets for life assurers and assets supporting life reassurance grew 6,7% to US$2,8 billion in the nine months ending September 30 2018 from US$2,6 billion in H2 2018.

Insurance and pensions commissions' Q3 report shows that the ZSE activity also saw more funds being channelled towards this asset class.

Demand for stocks pushed the ZSE main index to double growth in Q3 as the mainstream index grew, reaching a new high of 418,39 points.

The ZSE bull run intensified in September when the market cap increased by US$5,2 billion in a month to US$11,86 billion from US$6,66 billion in August driven largely by local institutional investors seeking a real growth component and hedge against inflation that is provided by equities.

During the period, the total prescribed assets investment reported by life assurers and composite reinsurers stood at US$322 million and US$3 million.

Both life assurers and composite reinsurers reached the required minimum prescribed ratio of 7,5% although two assurers and two reinsurers did not comply with the minimum prescribed asset ratio during that period.

"Life reassurance assets base has increased by 20,54% from US$40,18 million reported on 30 September 2017.

Composite reinsurer asset base that supports their life reassurance business amounted to US$48,43 million as at September 30 2018 which is an increase from the previous year. The increase in assets was driven by a 63,49% increase in equities and a 194,20% increase in receivables and prepayments. Asset base was concentrated in three classes which are equities, money markets and receivables which constitute 77,83% of the total asset base," noted Ipec.

Notwithstanding the level of compliance at industry level, two life assurers and two reinsurers were not compliant with the minimum prescribed asset ratio as at September 30, 2018 while a total of three out of 11 operating life assurance companies reported capital levels which were below the minimum required capital of US$5 million during the period.

"These undercapitalised players should put in place comprehensive recapitalisation plans. The Commission will be closely monitoring their progress," Ipec said.

Meanwhile, Old Mutual Life Assurance and First Mutual Life Assurance dominated the market share by gross premium written (GPW), controlling 82,99% of the asset base.

Old Mutual Life Assurance stood at 73,55% and First Mutual Life Assurance was at 9,2% while the nine remaining life assurance players controlled 17% of the industry assets.

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